On Sept. 1, the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation will celebrate a milestone anniversary. For 20 years, it has been under the direction of its president and CEO, Louis J. Beccaria, Ph.D., and 15 members of the board of directors.

The foundation strives to be a “Champion of the Community.” Its mission statement is “to improve the health and quality of life for people in the greater Phoenixville region by increasing access to quality health care services and promoting healthy communities through grant-making and collaboration with health, civic, business and community partners,” and it has lived up this statement.

The foundation was founded in 1997 when the Phoenixville Hospital merged with the University of Pennsylvania for $32 million. At the time, the hospital board formed PCHF with the money.

This program benefits almost everyone in some way in 19 area townships or boroughs. Instead of setting up a clinic-type atmosphere, it provides grants for professionals to aid others in their own facility. The foundation has given back to the people through health care and human service grants in the amount of $35.6 million.

Currently, John Colarusso heads the 15-member board of directors. The board and Dr. Beccaria are committed to a long-term journey to help make the Phoenixville area the healthiest that it can be. The office is located on Gay Street at Griffen Street in Phoenixville, but its presents is felt throughout the area.

PCHF is held in a public trust, and the board lives up to that each and every day and in every way. At times, it is felt it is the largest ATM machine in the Greater Phoenixville Area. The list is too numerous to name all the organizations that it has aided. The foundation acts as broker, ambassador, catalyst and capacity builder to the communities. Since 1998, over 1,800 grants have been distributed.

Even through widespread financial and endowment collapses around the country in 2000-01, PCHF has continued its support at the same level.

In 2004 when the hospital was once again sold to Community Health Systems, additional funds were received by PCHF. This was able to take place due to the leadership and negotiating skills of the board. This brought the total endowment at that time to $48.5 million.

In the reception area of the facility, visitors will find large containers of M&M’s for the sampling. Here is a recipe using M&M’s in a quick and easy cookie.


1 cup unsalted butter — room temperature

1 cup brown sugar¾ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs2 tsp. vanilla3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda1 tsp. salt1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup M&M’s and more for top if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a mixer (if available) to cream butter and sugars. Add eggs (one at a time) and vanilla thoroughly. Add flour, baking soda and salt until all is combined. Fold in chocolate chips and M&M’s. Refrigerate dough for 15 to 30 minutes. With an approximately 3 tablespoon scoop, scoop dough on to baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Place extra M&M’s on top if desired. Bake eight to 10 minutes, until tops are barely brown. Allow to set for two to three minutes; move to cooling rack. If there are any leftover, they will store in an airtight container for three days.

Enjoy!Let Bette hear from you: banjack303@verizon.net. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.

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